The NHL and Turner Sports reached a seven-year media rights deal this week that would see hockey games being played on TBS and TNT beginning next season. It’s a major deal for both the league and Turner Sports, as live sports have become one of the more popular television options during the pandemic.
With that being said, both sides of the deal will want as many eyes on the product as possible. With all the connections that Turner Sports has, we’re likely to see some interesting guest appearances when the NHL debuts on TNT later this year.
Bovada has actually released odds on who will likely show up in the TNT studio for the first NHL game on the network. As of April 29, they’re leaning towards none other than NBA legend Charles Barkley at -500 odds. He’s been a staple of TNT’s “Inside the NBA” show, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him do the same for the NHL. If one of the points of this deal is to create a new audience, they could easily do that by using the Barkley to attract basketball fans to hockey.
Who Will Be on the Studio Team for Game 1 of the NHL on TNT Next Season?
Odds via Bovada as of Thursday, April 29
- Charles Barkley (-500)
- Pierre McGuire (+200)
- Paul Bissonette (+300)
- Ryan Whitney (+450)
- Chris Jericho (+500)
- Bob McKenzie (+600)
- Darren Dreger (+600)
Complete odds list available at Bovada.lv.
NHL Odds: Could Pierre McGuire Be on the Studio Team?
At +200 odds, NHL broadcaster and analyst Pierre McGuire is the next likely option to be on TNT’s NHL studio team. McGuire is a former scout in the league and one of the most well-known broadcasters in the sport over the last two decades. He’s done tons of work for networks like TSN and NBC Sports in the past. Since fans are so familiar with him, his hockey knowledge and broadcast-style, it wouldn’t be surprising to see TNT using him to bring in viewers from other networks.
A Hockey/Wrestling Crossover?
He may not be the likeliest option, but All Elite Wrestling (AEW) superstar Chris Jericho has +500 odds to be on the NHL studio team on TNT this season. He’s been one of the main faces on AEW’s weekly show called “AEW: Dynamite” over the last two years, which use TNT as its home. Jericho is a 30-year veteran in the business and has the star power to get wrestling fans to watch whatever he does. He’s also made past appearances on “Inside the NBA,” so this seems like the next logical step.
Jericho’s father is also Ted Irvine, who played 12 seasons in the NHL and is mostly remembered for his time with the New York Rangers. Considering his personal relationship with hockey and his professional with TNT, don’t be surprised if Jericho ends up on their NHL studio team.
NHL Odds: McKenzie Could Be an Option
Few faces in the sport of hockey are as recognizable as Bob McKenzie (+600). He started working in the sport in the early 1980s and has been one of the most popular personalities on TSN since 1986. However, McKenzie has recently declared himself semi-retired and has only been doing the occasional hockey appearances here and there this year. Nevertheless, money can talk sometimes and if he has a price that would see him being on the NHL on TNT, a deal could be made. With fewer hockey reporters being as trusted as McKenzie, Turner Sports could certainly use him going forward.